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April 9, 2015updated 22 Sep 2016 11:47am

Behold the 10 biggest IoT investments

'All I see is Dollar signs': CRB compiles a list of multi billion deals within the IoT industry.

By Joao Lima

The hype around IoT is growing week by week. What started with a few million dollar investments, has now reached the first independent multi-trillion dollar mark.

Last year, Gartner announced that nearly five billion connected devices would be in use by the end of 2015, with that number soaring to 25 billion by 2020 in a market evaluated to reach nearly $2 trillion. In similar predictions, IDC forecast a growth from $1.3 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion by 2020.

CBR gives you a list of IoT investments from around the world – the investments are huge matching the equivalent of two thirds of the UK’s projected GDP for 2015.

1. India Smart Cities Project

Value: $2 trillion

In the numvers race, no one beats India. The Indian government is serious about its IoT strategy and has announced a package of $2 trillion to connect 100 cities across the country.

At least two cities per state will be involved in the programme, which will deliver connectivity across Indian states over the next few decades. The government has set the benchmark for identification of smart cities based on an array of parameters including current population, presence of tourist spots, and religious and economic importance a city carries.

The value of the endeavour was revealed in the "Market Study on Upcoming Smart Cities in India, 2015" report commissioned by TechSci Research.

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Public Private Partnerships (PPP) are being called upon by the government for the successful implementation of the smart city project.

Companies such as Halcrow, Synoate, Knight Frank and AECOM India are already involved in the scheme. However PM Narendra Modi’s government will also hold talks with Cisco, EMC, GE, IBM and Bajaj for further investment over the course of the project.

Karan Chechi, Research Director with TechSci Research, said: "The first phase of Dholera smart city in Gujarat is expected to be completed by 2023. Financial and IT services are the focus areas of development in the first phase of Dholera smart city. Overall cost involved in building infrastructure in the first phase of Dholera smart city is expected to be around USD2.73 billion."

2. Intel

Potential Value: $10.4 billion

In 2011, Intel made its biggest acquisition to date by spending $7.7 billion buying data security specialist McAfee, rebranded as Intel Security. The price it paid was $48 a share!

In March 2015, Intel was said to be discussing the purchase of chipmaker Altera for $10.4 billion,

Intel has also changed its financial reporting structure saying it would report on five separate lines of business, one of which is Internet of Things

 

3. IBM

Value: $3 billion

IBM walked on board of the IoT space ship long ago, but it wasn’t until the last day of March this year that the giant splashed $3 billion to connect the Internet of Things to the enterprise.

Between 2015 and 2019, IBM will be looking to establish a new IoT unit designed to help clients and ecosystem partners build IoT solutions.

With new industry-specific cloud data services and developer tools, IBM will help clients and partners integrate data from an unprecedented number of IoT and traditional sources.

The company has been working within the IoT environment over the last few years having contributed to the Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities program.

The venture was based on practical applications of IoT in the enterprise and led to a broad set of solutions, ranging from water management to optimising retail and customer loyalty to alleviating traffic congestion, securely combining and analysing data from different sources.

Bob Picciano, senior vice president, IBM Analytics, said: "Our knowledge of the world grows with every connected sensor and device, but too often we are not acting on it, even when we know we can ensure a better result,

"IBM will enable clients and industry partners apply IoT data to build solutions based on an open platform. This is a major focus of investment for IBM because it’s a rich and broad-based opportunity where innovation matters."

4. Google

Value: $3.7 billion

Google is an innovation leader when it comes to the smart world. From its Google Glasses to the smart contact lenses, the North American search giant is also gearing up for the IOT.

Last year, Google spent $3.7 billion: $3.2 billion for networked thermostat makers Nest Labs and $555 million for Dropcam, a maker of networked video cameras.

Nest Labs, founded by two former Apple executives, Tony Fadell – the iPod ‘father’ – and Matt Rogers, kept its identity even after being acquired by Google.

The company produces a thermostat capable of learning user behaviour and working out whether a building is occupied or not, using temperature, humidity, activity and light sensors.

Mr Fadell told the BBC in 2014 that it had first been in contact with Google in 2011 through a "chance meeting" with the firm’s co-founder, Sergey Brin.

"They’ve always been keen on what we were doing, because they thought we had a crazy idea and they love crazy ideas," Mr Fadell said.

But in the battle for who has the largest IoT infantry, Google bets heavy and in 2011 it bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in its biggest single spending ever.

5. General Electric (GE)

Value: $2.5 billion

General Electric’s approach to IoT is slightly more industrial that the other investors in this list. They call it: the Industrial Internet (InI).

The company works within the Power and Water, Oil and Gas, Energy Management, Aviation, Healthcare, Transportation, and Capital industries and it is not seen as a direct technology guru.

But in 2010 everything was about to change, as it bought software licenses worth $2.5 billion in a move to take control of its technological future.

By turning industrial machines into smart industrial machines, the company has experienced a more cost effective business approach, while business agility has also improved at all levels.

The company works closely with IBM and Hewlett-Packard in an attempt to create a cloud of cheap, gnat-sized and very smart sensors monitoring anything and everything.

Bill Ruh, GE’s vice president of software, told The Motley Fool that "everybody has a different take on it.

"It reflects a broader trend that devices are all becoming more intelligent."

See Next Page for the investment plans of EE, Cisco and others

 

6. Qualcomm

Value: $2.5 billion

Another giant, another massive transaction. $2.5 billion was spent by Qualcomm when acquiring Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) in 2014.

Qualcomm, the world leader in mobile chip making, expanded its portfolio of 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies with the purchase.

CSR was a pioneer in Bluetooth technology for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication with exponential impact within the automotive and wearable market.

Steve Mollenkopf, chief executive officer of Qualcomm, said: "The addition of CSR’s technology leadership in Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart1 and audio processing will strengthen Qualcomm’s position in providing critical solutions that drive the rapid growth of the Internet of Everything, including business areas such as portable audio, automotive and wearable devices.

"Combining CSR’s highly advanced offering of connectivity technologies with a strong track record of success in these areas will unlock new opportunities for growth. We look forward to working with the innovative CSR team globally and further strengthening our technology presence in Cambridge and the UK."

Other acquisitions last year by Qualcomm included Wilocity, a maker of wireless HDMI connections and the development of AllJoyn, an open-source platform that allows devices to share information with other nearby devices.

7. EE

Value: $2.2 billion

The old ‘Everything Every’ company name of EE will become once more the reality to more than 99% of the British population as the mobile network operator committed itself to deliver superfast 4G by 2017.

The cost? $2.2 billion that will enable EE’s 4G footprint to overtake 2G within the next 24 months.

The venture is part of the manifesto "Signalling the Future" which seeks to adapt the country’s digital infrastructure to a new reality of a 24/7 connected society across the country.

The program also includes rural investment targeting coverage enhancements for both voice and data services to 90% of the UK geography, and a world-leading performance with 99.6% reliability.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: ""Smart devices are playing an ever-increasing part in our customers’ lives in every part of the UK. With the £1.5bn investment plan, and our unceasing desire to continually improve the breadth and performance of our network, we are at the forefront of the new mobile era that is changing customers’ lives every day."

EE will be also looking into the adoption of 5G internet speeds within the next decade laying the foundations for the UK to be a global leader within this sector.

8. Venture capital funds

Value: $1.6 billion

It was in October 2014 when Cisco announced that more and more Venture Capital firms were expected to invest in IoT.

The thirst for more connected devices will boost capital investments from venture companies.

Wim Elfrink, Chief Globalisation officer of Cisco, told the Internet of Things World Forum that "10.69 billion Things were connected until October 2013, which has gone up to 13.69 billion in October 2014" with values expected to reach 50 billion by 2020.

IoT start-ups increased from 13 in 2013 to 189 in 2014 creating 300,000 new job places across the industry.

9. Samsung Ventures

Value: $1 billion

After a year where revenues soared to $188 billion, in the Spring of 2013, Samsung announced the creation of a $1 billion investment fund, dubbed the Samsung Ventures America Fund.

The project focused on cloud infrastructure, mobile privacy, internet of things, human interface, and mobile health.

Samsung’s vision of the future include Smartphone’s with long life battery running on 5G connectivity speeds, better screens, and all sorts of applications that are supported in hardware. And this future is just around the corner.

Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of device solutions at Samsung said: "We see tremendous opportunities and transformations over the next five years driven by Big Data centred around mobility, cloud and the internet of things.

"And Samsung will be a significant part of this revolution. This exciting opportunity for us to engage with entrepreneurs and innovators and empower them to leverage Samsung’s technology and global brand presence to bring our collective visions to the market."

 

10. Cisco

Value: $1 billion

Lastly, Cisco’s plans to build the world’s largest "Intercloud" for the Internet of Everything came at a cost of $1 billion.

The investment has a life span of two years, lasting up to 2016 where the giant and its partners will develop an open network of clouds with APIs for rapid application development to serve the enterprise market.

The OpenStack Intercloud will be designed to use Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure to optimise performance and help roll out services faster, offering network and security architecture to allow high performance workloads, real-time analytics, wide scalability, and full compliance with local data laws.

Additional investment from partners like Telstra, Allstream, Canopy, Atos, Ingram Micro, Logicalis, MicroStrategy, OnX Managed Services, SunGard, and Wipro are yet to be confirmed.

Robert Lloyd, president of development and sales at Cisco, said: "Customers, providers and channel partners alike are turning to Cisco to create open and highly secure hybrid cloud environments, and they want to rapidly deploy valuable enterprise-class cloud experiences for key customers – all while mitigating the risk of capital investment."

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